Friday night fish and chips, it’s quite the New Zealand tradition. Popular for decades now, fish and chips surely is the staple kiwi takeaway meal. And travellers always seem keen to try this special cuisine, on a visit here.
And why not, there’s a lot to be said for sitting in a beautiful New Zealand scenic spot, taking in fresh air and a view, and enjoying a feast wrapped in newsprint.
But don’t forget there’s also a collection of traditional fish and chip restaurants to be found around New Zealand, for a special moment and, in part, a step back in time.
Many and various
There’s a range of other takeaway options in this, many and various, country that is 2019 New Zealand - think curry, noodles, sushi, pizza and burgers. But they’ve not ousted fish and chips as the nation’s preferred takeaway. Research reports tell us that…
It used to be that the fish was snapper for battered fillets in the North Island but, as snapper catches declined, it’s been replaced by hoki or shark (call it lemon fish), sold generically as “fish”. Gurnard and blue cod might predominate in South Island fish and chips. But sometimes these named choices will cost a premium.
And of course it’s not just fish. Usually there’ll be a range of deep fried food there - chips, hot dogs, fritters (of potato, mussel or whitebait), kumara wedges and donuts. And, apart from the chips, most of the food will be either battered or crumbed. What’s your choice?
Whatever you choose, of course it will be “fush n chups” around here, New Zealand is home to some of the best fish and chips in the world. True.
A kiwi tradition, fish on a Friday
We can’t be sure when the first fish and chip shop opened in New Zealand, but the estimate is long before World War I. Of course it’s originally a northern England working-class meal, deep fried battered fish and potato chips.
And Friday night has been a long time fish and chips night…
For over 1,000 years catholic parishioners abstained from meat on a Friday, in the spirit of penance. It wasn’t until 1966 that the rules relaxed, which led to the end of obligatory meatless Fridays. But many continue a Friday fish tradition, catholic or not, in historical compliance or maybe it’s just habit….A spot on, no fuss, end of week dinner.
Many say they still taste best on Fridays, straight out of the newsprint wrapping, sauce on the side, perhaps a cup of tea too. Perhaps something else.
Those fish restaurants…
But, if you’re not going to eat them out of newsprint, then how about on an oval white china plate, with a thin red or blue line around its rim. There’s a collection of fish shops around the country where you can buy fresh fish, or else go past the fish counter, through a door and into a dining room.
You’ll likely find formica tables down each wall and comfy dining chairs. Salt, pepper and a small bottle of vinegar (and tomato sauce) grace the tables, and lovely memorabilia decorating the walls. The battered fish and chips (oysters perhaps…) come with a plate of sliced white bread and butter, and there’s always that pot of tea, add the milk, to wash it all down. Fush n chup deliciousness, in the north and the south here.
And, if you’re tempted by fresh fish, but want to make an alternative at home, take a look at a crumbed fish platter idea here.
Your road trip companion…
To find more on The FoodPath NZ’s handpicked eateries and food producers, for our collection of spot on New Zealand food moments to check out on your next New Zealand trip, including fish and chip spots all over, you’ll find The FoodPath NZ guide (for mobile) here. And look out for the fish and chip trail, now on The FoodPath NZ guide.